Vaulting Ambition

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    Grammar studies have had overly ambitious goals. Computational linguistics,grammatical theory and corpus linguistics increasingly avoid the claims and perhaps even the goals of comprehensiveness. While parse accuracy (really parse and disambiguation accuracy) was a hotly contested field in the 1990s in computational linguistics, progress has stagnated in grammar-based work, even with models that include hundreds of thousands of independent variables. In grammatical theory, transformational generative grammar now limits its interest to “core” processes, while alternatives such as construction grammar seem toforeswear comprehensive studies, at least implicitly. Corpus linguistics, the focus of this volume, has always been more modest, and while it draws on ever more impressive amounts of data (> 10 billion words tokens), it also includes a lot of work on grammar differences — a fascinating, but different subject — rather than what constitutes grammar. I’ll argue here nonetheless that corpus linguistics has a very valuable additional task inverifying judgments of unacceptability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGrammar and Corpora 2016
    EditorsEric Fuß, Marek Konopka, Beate Trawinski, Ulrich Waßner
    Place of PublicationHeidelberg
    PublisherHeidelberg University Publishing
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Print)394605482X
    Publication statusPublished - 31-May-2018
    EventGrammar and Corpora - Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, Germany
    Duration: 9-Nov-201611-Nov-2016
    Conference number: 6th


    ConferenceGrammar and Corpora
    Abbreviated titleGrammar and Corpora
    Internet address


    • grammatical theory
    • computational linguistics
    • corpus linguistics
    • generative linguistics

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